Are You A Creative or A Critic

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Are you one of those people who can be seen typing furiously in response to a youtube video or a facebook post? Do you have fifteen one-star reviews on amazon because some things just don’t match up to your expectations? Are you always disappointed by the books and movies you consume, always giving people within earshot a piece of your mind? Are there people within earshot left given how much you complain about everything?

If you answered, “Yes,” to all of the above, you’re most likely a critic. I was listening to one of the episodes on the school of greatness, and the guest — Michael Port — was saying, you’re either a critic or a creative but you can’t be both. How things work is that the harsher a critic you are to other people’s work, the harsher a critic you are to your own work, so you’re less likely to produce.

And it really hit me how most of the people I come across are critics,and yet it is true their creative output wavers around the zero line. They complain about how everything is horrible or has room for improvement. And funny enough they are the ones who are more likely to care so much what others think about their lives.
But if you’re a creative, you’re too busy learning your craft, and producing work to leave a comment on someone’s youtube channel. You’re too busy producing work to care what other people’s response to it is. You’re too busy ignoring your inner critic — and your outer critic…

And yes, maybe there is room for critics in this world, since after all, reading reviews before spending time and money on a book or other piece of art is not a bad idea, but does the critic have to be you? There are many critics in the world already…give them space to work while you work on your own art.

So which one are you? Decide today; are you a creative or a critic?
Let me know on social media, by tweeting @ahechoes #CreativeOrCritic and if you like this post, support the work by sharing it on Facebook  and like the facebook page;
Also, check out my short story collection, “All Bleeding Stops and Other Short Stories from the Kenyan Coast,” and the non-fiction book summarizing a lot of ideas in the personal development field if you want to change your life but don’t know where to start, “Mine your inner resources”.

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A White Page

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A white page

Useless black ink

Mind’s a cage

I need a drink

Coca cola zero

Diet sprite

Can’t find a hero

Might as well not write

One poem later

Delete, delete, delete

Should have been a waiter

April; no water, no heat

Sleep after a fall

Under the same tree

What’s poetry afterall

But poverty with out a ‘v’?

A poem about a writer struggling with writer’s block

a white page

You’re crazy

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Have you ever had someone tell you that you were crazy? Maybe you worked hard to get your degree in engineering and then you decided to go sell falafel. Or you worked hard to become a doctor only to hang your stethoscope and decided to work as a farmer.  Sometimes you’re deemed crazy because of decisions you make that others deem irrational. And what’s worse is when you try to rationalize that decision for them, which maybe you can’t because you can’t even rationalize it to yourself as it’s more the product of the heart than that of the mind…

If you’re working towards a dream, you’re probably a few steps away from many people, because not many people know what they’re passionate about, and even if they do, not many people have the courage to dream, let alone work towards their dreams. So a lot of times, they’d just try to push you back, tell you you would fail or that you are crazy, to discourage you because they feel like they’ve failed in pursuing their own dreams, or maybe they don’t even know what they want.

So if people think you’re crazy, let them be, remember Steve Jobs’ quote, “ere’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

And finally, remember the words of 15-year-old me, “Sometimes it’s crazy not to be crazy.”

"Sometimes it's crazy not to be crazy"
“Sometimes it’s crazy not to be crazy”

Is it the end for the knowledge worker?

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I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s book “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future” and so far it’s been filled with many interesting idea. According to Pink, we are approaching the end of the era of the knowledge worker; the guy who’s been told from a young age to go to school, get good grades and become a doctor or engineer. His theory is that a world ruled by material abundance, technological advancements, and globalization, people need to rely more on their right hemisphere than the left.

According to cognitive psychology, the left hemisphere of the brain is the captain of  logical and analytical thinking, while the right hemisphere takes care of creativity, emotions and intuition. Just like relationships between men and women usually have men dominate because they’re more rational than their emotional counterparts, for years, the left hemisphere was seen to be superior than the right hemisphere. However, now it’s seen that no hemisphere is better than the other, but the two hemispheres are just unique in their own way.

Looking at our current educational system, it focuses a lot on developing the left side of the brain, when the focus nowadays should be on the right. Think about it, all those math problems we had to solve during our SATs could be done using computers nowadays. Also, outsourcing work to places where it can be done faster and cheaper means that for a person to stay marketable, they have to focus on the things that can’t be mass-produced using a machine. That’s where the Right Brain kicks in as developing it would help people become more innovative, detect new opportunities for the new age, create artistic beauty and emphathize with others to understand dynamics of human interactions.

Also, Pink mentioned about how the market is filled with so many commodities that what would make one stand out isn’t functionality alone, but also the design. Reading that made me think about Apple and their breathtaking products. There’s a quote by Steve Jobs where he defines creativity, and talks about the importance of nonlinear thinking in design, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

Daniel Pink goes on to speak in detail about the six senses; Design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. His idea is mastering these would help one shine in the new post-knowledge-worker era, but since I haven’t finished the book yet, I guess this is where my half-review ends. I’ve read Daniel’s Pink Drive, and I have to admit that I like his writing style because it doesn’t exactly read like a boring textbook, but the research he has done is quite solid plus he’s got exercises on how to master the six senses.

So what’s your insight on the topic? Do you think it’s the end for the knowledge worker, and the beginning for the creative worker?